Environment Secretary Michael Gove to unveil plastic bottle deposit scheme in a victory for the Mail’s war on plastic
- Michael Gove will unveil plans for a recycling revolution to slash plastic waste
- The Environment Secretary will propose a new return scheme for plastic bottles
- Similar schemes already operate across Europe, including Germany and Finland
- A network of ‘reverse vending machines’ would be set up to return empty bottles
Michael Gove will next week unveil plans for a recycling revolution that includes a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles.
In a victory for the Mail’s war on plastic, the Environment Secretary will publish detailed proposals designed to slash waste and boost recycling.
As well as plastic bottles, the deposit scheme is also set to cover cans and glass containers.
Environment Secretary Michael Gove will unveil plans for a recycling revolution. A deposit return scheme could come into force by 2023 if it gets the go-ahead and funding from the Treasury [File photo]
Shoppers would pay a small deposit on every purchase which would be paid back when empties are returned in a network of ‘reverse vending machines’.
Official estimates suggest the likely boost to the economy from the scheme could be as high as £2billion.
A Whitehall source said: ‘The truth is we use too much plastic and don’t recycle enough. An ‘all in’ deposit return scheme would turbo-boost recycling across the country, help to clear our streets of litter and rid our seas and oceans of the scourge of plastic waste.’
As part of its Turn the Tide on Plastic campaign, the Mail has led calls for such a scheme to stop plastic in bottles, bags and cups blighting the countryside and endangering wildlife.
Shoppers would pay a small deposit on every purchase which would be paid back when empties are returned in a network of ‘reverse vending machines’. Official estimates suggest the likely boost to the economy from the scheme could be as high as £2billion [File photo]
The consultation document will set out two options for how the scheme could work.
The first would cover the vast majority of drinks containers sold in the UK, regardless of their size. A second, more limited, option known as ‘on-the-go’ would only cover bottles smaller than 750ml.
Estimates suggest up to three billion plastic bottles are currently incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute Britain’s streets, countryside, rivers and streams, as well as 2.7billion cans and 1.5billion glass bottles.
Similar schemes already operate across Europe, where deposits range from 5p to 22p. In countries that use them, return rates of drinks containers are vastly higher than in Britain.
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Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway and the Netherlands recycle more than 90 per cent of all plastic containers. If it gets the go-ahead, and funding from the Treasury, the scheme could come into force by 2023.
New proposals are also expected on curbside recycling, and measures to encourage producers to swallow more of the cost of recycling or the disposal of waste packaging.
Currently, firms that produce single-use and non-biodegradable packaging contribute just £73million towards clean-ups. The rest is shouldered by councils.
It could mean supermarkets, food producers and drinks firms facing much higher bills to pay for recycling and could raise up to £1billion.
Estimates suggest up to three billion plastic bottles are currently incinerated, sent to landfill or left to pollute Britain’s streets, countryside, rivers and streams, as well as 2.7billion cans and 1.5billion glass bottles [File photo]
The sum will go towards paying councils for the cost of recycling. But manufacturers will be able to recover a significant part of the cost if their packaging is successfully recycled.
Figures this week showed recycling rates have stagnated for the fifth year in a row, suggesting the UK will miss its target to recycle half of all household waste by next year.
Some 63,057 Britons have signed up to the Great British Spring Clean. Working alongside Keep Britain Tidy, the Daily Mail is urging readers to take part in this year’s clean-up.
They will take part in litter pickups from March 22 to April 23 in what should be the year’s largest environmental event.
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